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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris wait for the start of the Independence Day firework display over the National Mall from the balcony of the White House, Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris wait for the start of the Independence Day firework display over the National Mall from the balcony of the White House, Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Reports are flooding in about the fallout within the Democratic party from President Joe Biden’s disastrous performance during last week’s presidential debate. For many, the fact that something like this would happen could not have been more obvious. Democratic leadership saw exactly what the rest of us saw, so how could they believe that it was a good idea to have Biden run for a second term?

I know why the average Democratic voter thought it was a good idea. They trusted the “stutter” narrative fed to them by the left-friendly media. As is common with highly politicized topics, the public can be led to deny what is right in front of their faces. But how did Democratic leaders not see this coming? 

For years now, Biden’s decline could not be fully explained by a simple stutter. He often fails to recall crucial details about his own life including the nature of his own son’s death, struggles to form coherent sentences, and regularly appears disoriented. Are we to believe that they did not expect this to happen? 

It’s hard to believe this caught them off-guard given how much they have shielded him from the public eye. He has held the press conferences since Ronald Regan, which was clearly necessitated to limit opportunities for gaffes. Their awareness of the issue makes it all the more puzzling how so many Democrats are just now suggesting that it may be time for Biden to step aside.

According to some , many Democratic donors, governors, and lawmakers are upset that Biden’s inner circle kept his limitations a secret from them by carefully curating his exposure. What sort of strange dogmatic perspective must one have to ignore so much readily available evidence?

You don’t need to look much further than Biden’s last State of the Union address to understand how severely compromised our president is. 

Now only four months away from the presidential election, they have put themselves in a position where they can no longer deny the obvious truth that Biden is too impaired to be the president and must consider alternative candidates. 

Some of Biden’s aides came to his “defense” that Joe Biden operates better between the hours of 10am and 4pm. It’s astonishing that they thought that this rehabilitates Biden’s image in any way. Unfortunately for Biden, matters of importance are not guaranteed to happen within his six hour period of productivity.

This is starting to sound more like hubris and brute incompetence. Democrats made a catastrophic miscalculation. They demonstrated hubris by thinking that they could just continue to spin every mistake that Biden did. Given what we know, it seems more likely than not that they were aware of the president’s limitations but thought that they could squeak out a win anyway. 

Democrats have given themselves the difficult choice between sticking with Biden, who everyone now knows is ill-equipped for office, or choosing a candidate from an uninspiring field to start a new campaign. 

With more Democrats voicing their desire that Biden withdraw from the election, the decision may have already been made for them. You can’t put up a candidate when so many of your own party are questioning their mental competence can you?

That is, unless they double-down on their poor decision making. But the genie is out of the bottle now and the only sensible way forward for the Democratic party is to force Biden to withdraw and hold another primary as quickly as possible. 

They could have acknowledged privately well ahead of time that it was necessary to prepare for an election without Biden given what was plainly visible for all to see. They could have taken the time to raise some moderate Democrat’s profile. Apart from what we may believe about the Democratic party’s general policy preferences, they have a history of not doing themselves any favors with respect to beating Republicans. 

My bet is that Democrats will continue their losing tradition by either sticking with Joe Biden or by supporting some polarizing figure like Kamala Harris who is only somewhat more coherent than the president and who’s awful track record would provide bountiful ammunition for Republicans. This is a crisis of the Democrat’s own doing and with it, they’ve all but handed Trump another victory.

Rafael Perez is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Rochester. You can reach him at rafaelperezocregister@gmail.com

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